Recent Posts:

How Big Cleantech VCs Can Suffer From Negative Selection Bias

Rob Day: April 13, 2011, 10:01 PM

One of the challenges for cleantech VCs, and for VCs in general right now, is the potential negative selection bias that comes from being a large fund. This particularly applies to the large, big-name firms that adopt a "go big or go home" perspective when it comes to their investments.

Many such large funds have minimum ownership targets -- they want to own at least 20% of the company they invest in, so that if it's a big success, they end up with a big return, which makes sense, right?  This is rarely a hard-and-fast rule, although it's often presented as such.  But whether it's a hard floor or not, big firms don't want to own only a small piece of the companies they invest in,...

What You Need to Know About the Q1 Cleantech Venture Numbers

Rob Day: April 5, 2011, 6:15 PM

Hardly surprising to see that the major headlines coming out of the release today of the Cleantech Group's Q1 numbers focused on the top-line dollar count -- $2.57B!

But here's what you need to read in that:

1. Yes, deal dollars were up, but deal counts were way down.

As we've talked about for a while now, cleantech VCs are continuing to shift to later-stage companies. In fact, 93% of dollars in the quarter went into follow-on rounds. That bears repeating: Only 7% of cleantech venture dollars tracked in the first quarter were for first rounds.

This is not a sign of health for the sector. It's not a sign that VCs are actively putting money into the sector. Rather, it's a sign...

The Cleantech Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Rob Day: April 2, 2011, 3:06 PM

Among VCs (and their LP backers), cleantech is on the outs right now.  So says this pretty good article from the past week, anyway. It reflects what we've been saying here in this column for a while -- there's a shakeout underway in the cleantech venture sector, with many generalists abandoning deal-making in cleantech to head for "easier" returns in social media, and many sectoral specialists having a hard time raising new funds.

But there's a revolution underway in cleantech, and it's being led by the entrepreneurs.  

In my recent "Cleantech Venture Capital in 2015" presentation, I talked about the need for a new truly capital-light style of company-building in the sector...